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Codex Interview Brent Knowles Interview: An Insider's Look at BioWare, 2000-2009

Gozma

Arcane
Joined
Aug 1, 2012
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2,951
To be fair, both the press and the devs are to blame. For the book I've contacted many developers, and while they were all friendly at first, very, very few replied me when I sent more though questions.

I'd bet some of it is that the guys have game journo "questions" mentally filed away as, "bullshit marketing fluff I have to do."

And then when they get a real question it's like, "I don't have the time or energy to mess with this, it's supposed to just be bullshit marketing fluff I have to do!"
 

Stelcio

Savant
Joined
Jan 18, 2012
Messages
237
My bet is that gaming journalism is held hostage to their readers, actually. A typical gamer does not care about elaborate in-depht knowledge about the game developement, they just want the screens, the features, the "awesoem". Their source for gaming news needs to deliver this stuff and guess what happens when you get too inquisitive aka "difficult to work with"? You get neglected when new stuff comes out. Whoever plays nice, gets the exclusive content access that they can deliver to their readers and reap the benefits. Whoever doesn't, gets nothing and waves their readers bye-bye when they change their source of news. And I don't blame the devs and publishers. That's what business is like, dirty and merciless. It works this way in every industry. I don't see many famous actors getting asked about their drunkard incidents, naked photos, etc. for instance. It's always the contentgiver that decides what content you get.

Codex is different regarding contentwhoring and it seems to me obvious as for why. Basically what Infinitron said: Codex is not journalism. It's not a business, it's not a part of industry. And thus it's free of typical constraints of such, as well as of :keepmyjewgold:it comes with. Codex is independent. But still I find it surprising that people somehow expect the gaming journalism to aim for Codex' level of honesty, integrity, dedication and prestige that comes with those. That's... not gonna happen and it was never meant to.

Same goes for developers. The higher you are in the industry, the more constraints you have to face to maintain your existance there.

IDK, maybe that's the obvious stuff, but those critical voices towards gaming journalism and gaming industry in general hint that some people are oblivious to how the world spins around and that not everybody can afford being dedicated to the cause.
 
Joined
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Elevator Of Love
Divinity: Original Sin 2 Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
As well, because the game content did not have to be locked down too early (for voice over and cinematics), we actually had more development time. With AAA titles nowadays, it becomes harder to tweak content in the late stages of development.

Good old times.

When can we expect Infinittron Chatt ?
 

tuluse

Arcane
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Messages
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Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong
Interesting interview, thanks :salute:

Had to chuckle at his comments on DAO though, they looked like a cut and paste from the endless arguments in the Eternity threads:
I didn't really like that question. Which is basically asking him if Bioware straight up lied. That's not going to get any productive response.

That said, between IWD2 and PoE, name another studio made tactical RPG. There's NWN2 and DAO, and that's it. DAO is the closest thing to a BG game we've gotten since BG.
 

Infinitron

I post news
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Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
I didn't really like that question. Which is basically asking him if Bioware straight up lied. That's not going to get any productive response.

Actually, I just wanted to know if the game may have been (even) more BG-like in a previous iteration, sometime during its long development cycle.
 

tuluse

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Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong
Actually, I just wanted to know if the game may have been (even) more BG-like in a previous iteration, sometime during its long development cycle.
I think it could have been phrased better than it was, and you might have actually got an answer to what you wanted than how both he and I interpreted it.
 

Greatness

Cipher
Joined
Mar 17, 2007
Messages
288
I never actually played the NWN expansions. The OC turned me off so heavily that I just assumed anything NWN was going to be complete shit. I did enjoy MotB later on in NWN2 though, and even MoW+SoZ were amusing.

Just the thought of no-party control DnD seems boring, but are SoU/HotU actually worth playing? I understand NWN had a solid modding scene, are there mods that let you control you companions ala NWN2/IE?
 

Infinitron

I post news
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Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
I never actually played the NWN expansions. The OC turned me off so heavily that I just assumed anything NWN was going to be complete shit. I did enjoy MotB later on in NWN2 though, and even MoW+SoZ were amusing.

Just the thought of no-party control DnD seems boring, but are SoU/HotU actually worth playing? I understand NWN had a solid modding scene, are there mods that let you control you companions ala NWN2/IE?

NWN isn't about controlling companions. In a good module, it's about having a single character adventure like Fallout, with choices, skill usage, and combat focused on preparation, not tactics.
 

Perkel

Arcane
Joined
Mar 28, 2014
Messages
15,864
Fucking A interview.

I hate interviews in which:

intervewer: "How awesome is game ?"
dev: "awesome"
interviewer: "AWESOME !!"

:kwanzania:


huge claps for that dude. Though i don't consider DA:O amazing game or even mediacore like some people here (that top 70 chart)
 

Infinitron

I post news
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Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
It's funny how you went from praising me for my interviewing skills to that within the space of two minutes.
 
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Perkel

Arcane
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It's funny how you went from praising me from my interviewing skills to that within the space of two minutes.

It's not like those two are different topics +M


Either way interview paints picture most of people assumed it was like that though it is nice to finally see confirmation.
Obviously Mass Effect sales did have stronger impact than D&D era and people fallowed money.
 
Self-Ejected

Lurker King

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The fact that many of Bio designers thought that D&D is too complicated and that it would be possible to get the same "wow" factor with a simpler system is obviously the reason behind the shitty mechanics of DA:O which certainly had no "wow" factor at all - which Brent seems to acknowledge.

To be fair to Brent Knowles, he also said that "We spent a lot of time working with a simulator (and pen-and-paper play) to balance the original rule set, but once the final engine was ready, much of that balancing was invalidated as the rules underwent significant changes to accommodate animation and art requirements that I failed to foresee".
 
Self-Ejected

Lurker King

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And you can hardly blame developers who are no longer young for going with the flow and saving up for retirement with nice, cushy jobs instead of getting fired on principle.

The problem is that even the cool guys who had abandoned their ideals to pay the mortgage are a dying breed in the industry. Just stop and think for a second about the type of developer that will replace them, and about an industry filled with causal gamers who never played an isometric game in their lives. I feel sorry for the next generation of gamers and all the horrors they will will have to deal with. On the other hand, maybe they will have some indie studios who make genuine cRPGs, right?
 

twincast

Learned
Patron
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Feb 10, 2013
Messages
232
Thing is though, it's usually just the game """"journalism"""" that refrains from asking loaded/tough questions or presenting some sort of an opinion in them. You'll find provocative or critical questions in almost all other kinds of journalism out there, and for some reason these don't evoke the uproar of a bunch of crybabies that are just closeted fans who want to do nothing but go 'uguu~' at their childhood/industry idols.
Yeah, journalistic interviews ≠ scientific surveys. That leading questions invariably mean shitty quality for the latter does not mean that the same applies for the former - quite the opposite, in fact.

Edit: Of course that usually only works if you can physically put them on the spot, not via e-mails easy to ignore and hide from.
 
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GloomFrost

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Dec 9, 2014
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Northern wastes
I didn't really like that question. Which is basically asking him if Bioware straight up lied. That's not going to get any productive response.

That said, between IWD2 and PoE, name another studio made tactical RPG. There's NWN2 and DAO, and that's it. DAO is the closest thing to a BG game we've gotten since BG.
DRAKENSANG is a nice tactical rpg. Also don't forget kick starter projects.
 

Perkel

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Messages
15,864
I didn't really like that question. Which is basically asking him if Bioware straight up lied. That's not going to get any productive response.

That said, between IWD2 and PoE, name another studio made tactical RPG. There's NWN2 and DAO, and that's it. DAO is the closest thing to a BG game we've gotten since BG.

Troika_Games_logo.png


Now when i look at this logo i am amazed that it completely encapsulates Troika products.
Amazing designed games with good art that crashed like motherfucker.
 

tuluse

Arcane
Joined
Jul 20, 2008
Messages
11,400
Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong
Troika_Games_logo.png


Now when i look at this logo i am amazed that it completely encapsulates Troika products.
Amazing designed games with good art that crashed like motherfucker.
Heh, I did forget ToEE, but yeah DAO is more BG2 than ToEE is.


DRAKENSANG is a nice tactical rpg. Also don't forget kick starter projects.

Uhh, which kickstarter projects came out by 2009? Also, everything I've read about Drakensang says the exact opposite of "nice".
 

Perkel

Arcane
Joined
Mar 28, 2014
Messages
15,864
Heh, I did forget ToEE, but yeah DAO is more BG2 than ToEE is.

This was my opinion until i played ToEE and learned that Homlet is not the only place you visit. It is small game though compared to other games and which is probably known by now best combat out of them because it is actually TB game and didn't need to refiddle 3rd edition with all those options into real time combat with pause.
 

Arulan

Cipher
Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
313
Great interview.

Basically, a voiced protagonist, and the cinematic elements required to pull that presentation off properly, makes it extremely risky to attempt an asset heavy game like Dragon Age: Origins.
As well, because the game content did not have to be locked down too early (for voice over and cinematics), we actually had more development time. With AAA titles nowadays, it becomes harder to tweak content in the late stages of development.

Well, as if we needed any more proof of the negatives of modern production values. :decline:
 

Sceptic

Arcane
Patron
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Mar 2, 2010
Messages
10,872
Divinity: Original Sin
I didn't really like that question. Which is basically asking him if Bioware straight up lied. That's not going to get any productive response.
I thought the question was pretty productive actually. It's exactly the same answer that Schafer gave regarding Broken Age being "an old school adventure game (picture of Day of the Tentacle)". Both are great examples of a developer claiming they're making a spiritual successor while completely missing the point about what people actually liked in the original. I have to say I found the parts about DAO to be the most interesting, since his answers seem to clearly point out that DAO was consolized from the start, that the whole spiel about "old-school CRPG" was just hot air from the get-go, and that EA had nothing to do with any of that after all, it was all Bioware's doing and part of their initial vision for the game, a bizarre mishmash of Mass Effect and Baldur's Gate that would please both sides, and even seems to have succeeded in the eyes of many.

I still don't understand what people like about HotU though. Yeah sure it's a stellar game compared to the OC, but that's not saying much, and it carries over many of the same problems that are inherent to it (repetitive environments, endless trash mobs, slow-ass and deathly boring combat, no real party control, unoptimized and ugly engine...)
 

Infinitron

I post news
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Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
I still don't understand what people like about HotU though. Yeah sure it's a stellar game compared to the OC, but that's not saying much, and it carries over many of the same problems that are inherent to it (repetitive environments, endless trash mobs, slow-ass and deathly boring combat, no real party control, unoptimized and ugly engine...)

Well, I did my best to explain what I liked about it in the interview, and I'd like to think others who like it agree with me. It's just a fairly imaginative and well-realized D&D pulp adventure.
 

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